Retired June 1, 1980.
Lieutenant General Howard M. Lane is the inspector general of the U.S. Air Force. He is responsible to the secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff for U.S. Air Force inspection, security, investigative, counterterrorism, counterintelligence and complaint programs.
General Lane was born in 1924, in Auburn, Ala. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet in December 1942 and received his pilot wings and commission as a second lieutenant in February 1944.
He completed instructor pilot training and was assigned in May 1944 as an advanced single-engine flight instructor at Marianna Army Air Field, Fla. After P-40 Warhawk and P-51 Mustang training at Sarasota Army Air Field, Fla., he was sent to the Pacific area in March 1945 where he flew escort and strike missions over Japan in P-51 aircraft from the island of Iwo Jima as a member of the 21st Fighter Group. He is credited with destroying one Japanese plane in aerial combat over Japan.
General Lane returned to the United States in August 1947, completed jet fighter transition training at Williams Air Force Base, Ariz., and in October 1947 became a member of the cadre that reformed the 4th Fighter Group at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. In April 1949 he completed the Air Tactical School at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.
In November 1950 during the Korean War, General Lane went to Korea with the 4th Fighter Group. He flew combat missions in F-86 Sabrejets and was credited with destroying two and one-half MIG aircraft in aerial combat.
He returned to the United States in October 1951 and was assigned to the Eastern Air Defense Force, Stewart Air Force Base, N.Y., where he supervised the operations center. He entered the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, in August 1953, and earned the equivalent of a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering.
In September 1955 General Lane was assigned as a student at the Air Force Experimental Flight Test Pilot School, and in April 1956 he was named chief of the Fighter Operations Branch, Flight Test Operations Division of the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. He participated in the initial tests of all century-series supersonic fighter aircraft.
In August 1960 General Lane entered the Air War College of Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and in July 1961 was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., as a research and development staff officer in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Systems and Logistics, and later in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development.
In June 1965 he was assigned as chief, Plans Division, Joint Task Force Two, at Sandia Base, N.M. The task force was an operational element of the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, organized to conduct capability tests of tactical weapon systems in a low altitude environment. In May 1968 he became vice commander of the 27th Tactical Fighter Wing at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.
He went to Southeast Asia and assumed command of the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing at Bien Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, in April 1969. He completed 256 combat missions in the F- 100 Super Sabre.
General Lane was transferred to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, in June 1970 to command the 26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, and in March 1971 was assigned to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Fourth Allied Tactical Air Force as deputy chief of staff for operations.
In October 1972 General Lane became commander of the Air Force Flight Test Center of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. In March 1974 he was named commander of the Tactical Air Warfare Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. General Lane became the commander of the Armament Development and Test Center at Eglin Air Force Base in September 1975. He assumed his present position in October 1978.
General Lane is a command pilot. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 18 oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Presidential Unit Citation emblem, Army Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three service stars, World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal with service star, Korean Service Medal with four service stars, Vietnam Service Medal with three service stars, Air Force Longevity Service Award ribbon with seven oak leaf clusters, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship ribbon, Vietnam Air Force Distinguished Service Order Second Class, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry Army Level with palm, Vietnam Civil Actions First Class, Vietnam Air Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
General Lane was promoted to the grade of lieutenant general effective Oct. 1, 1978, with some date of rank.